By Adriana Adarve – Owner of Adarve Translations
Is a voice to be defined only by the guttural, throaty, yet sweet, melodious sounds that vocal cords make in our throat?
This week, I had the pleasure to be invited to act as the English-Spanish Interpreter during Groundswell International Annual Forum, held in Asheville, NC during the week of September 16, 2013.
It was such an honor to be able to help with the communication among the members of this wonderful group of people, as well as to share and learn from each one of them.
People communicate in many different ways, language being just one of them, and probably not always the most important one. Granted, my entire life my dream has been to be able to communicate with as many people as possible in their own language, but also to serve as a bridge for those who have not had the same good luck I’ve had of learning more than one language and putting them to the service of others.
It is also true that while language helps to smooth the way to better communicate with one another, this past week I was able to asses that with or without it, people nonetheless come together to lend a hand and strive to make the world a better place.
How many of us do really, really know what happens at the other end of the world, what people need, how they live, what their struggles are? How many of us really go beyond what the media wants to show and hide from us.
I have to confess that I personally had not given this issue much deep thought in my life. True, I had thought of it from time to time, but then went on to concentrating on other things that were important to me as well, leaving behind what was thousands and thousands of miles away from me and my place of residence.
This week, however, I was reminded that distance doesn’t mean much, that language, while useful, isn’t really that much of a barrier, and probably has never been either. This week I was reminded that the true essence of human beings comes to the fore when we are driven by a true sense of self and humanity.
Having had the chance to spend time and learn, while being the English-Spanish bridge for two specific members, with people from Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, Thailand, The United States, Haiti, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Nepal opened wider for me a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose.
Yet, even if people do find many valid solutions to the communication issues we all face each they, the purpose of my invitation to be part of this wonderful experience was to make sure the message of the group’s mission, vision and goals, as well as current and future plans, perspectives and work was not lost in translation!
As I said before, we all find many different ways to communicate with one another, and at the individual or very small group level, a lot of the times this form of communication is just enough and extremely helpful. Nonetheless, when interacting with people whose aim is to help a bigger and more important group of people, non-verbal communication simply isn’t enough, and it is wisest to make sure our message doesn’t get lost at all.
That was the main goal of the invitation that I received to interpret for this group. The issues at hand, the inputs needing discussion and sharing with among the participants to the forum, their knowledge, opinions, needs and messages from a wider perspective related to the group or groups they help back in their own homelands were way too important to risk delaying their communication or losing them in whatever kind of non-verbal communication they might have been able to find.
It is in situations like this where I receive reconfirmation of why I love my profession so much and why I get up each day more and more eager to continue on such a wonderful path. If I simply want to communicate with some people (only some compared to the great number that actually populates our planet) on a sporadic or less than regular basis, like when I go on vacation somewhere in the world, or when I decide that I would like to live in a different country for some time, learning the basics of the country’s language might be just enough for me to get integrated and share everyday life’s ups and downs, and my goal of having knowledge of more than one language is fulfilled.
But, being able to be the bridge between people from different countries and cultures, but with a common, humanitarian goal is more than the fulfillment of a basic, early goal. It is a tremendous milestone in my career; it is bigger, so far, than any other purpose I have set out to fulfill in my life.
And so, to me, a voice is not simply the sound that comes out of my throat. To me, a voice is the power I have been granted with to help others communicate their visions, goals, dreams and prospects to other fellow human beings with the same or totally different goals in general, yet walking the same path when humanitarian work is the common goal.
About the Author: Adriana Adarve is the owner of Adarve Translations and is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish & French), as well as multi-cultural.